Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Merry Christmas!

We are only pilgrims on the earth. It would be a crazy thing to set up a campsite as if it were our permanent dwelling. It would be a crazy thing to get upset if things were out of place or if you couldn't find this or that. I am starting to care less and less about stuff—it is just stuff. Sure, God has given us lots of great things, and we want to take care of them and make our campsite as nice as possible, but that is how it is living in a remodeling work zone of a house.


So much has been happening. Thank the Lord we were able to buy a house. It is right off the school's parking lot; close for the college kids to walk to school.  It is a two-story fixer-upper built around the 1860s. God did not say He would give you the farm already planted. So we are all working.  Thank the Lord for able bodies and great health able to do all this work. Thank the Lord that this 50+ couple can camp out on the floor for five weeks. Thank the Lord for a kitchen, bathroom, and roof over our heads.  Now, if we see "Little House on the Prairie," I'll have some sympathy in hindsight for the drafts of cold air that come through these slats of wood. We have paper stuffing the cracks or tape over the holes to keep some of the cold air out.  You know these Africans want to stay as warm as possible.  All that to say, "Happy late Thanksgiving." 


We had a great trip to Florida and met many new friends and were reacquainted with the old ones. The young people are getting younger, and the older folks are getting just like us. I am not planning to retire, but to re-fire, and Florida is a nice place. We loved the warmth. At a flea market, we met Christians (SOS) doing open-air evangelism; they had a booth at the market. That was so encouraging. Sometimes I can get into a pity party like Elijah ("I am the only one left"). Well, there are Christians alive and well and out there witnessing to strangers. They even gave us one of their "boards" that we can use here in America and copy into French to take back with us to Cote d'Ivoire.


We praise the Lord that the ministry in Côte d'Ivoire is still going well.  This past month Pastor Konan has started evangelism in another village with men from the Bible School.  Thank you for those who have given toward the purchase of bikes and property.  We recently were able to purchase three bikes and some land in another village for a church building.  The church elementary school in San Pedro is also doing well.  We are making bricks for the construction of another two classrooms.


We are also thankful for the bit of school we were able to get done.  It is not the easiest thing to do school while traveling or to concentrate in a work zone. Kids try to find a quiet, lit spot to work in peace...and we hear sounds of, "Where's the protractor?" and numerous other things. Still, the work goes on, school goes on, distributing tracts and witnessing goes on. God's Word keeps entering into our lives, and meetings and travel continue in safety and in health. Thanks for all your prayers. We THANK YOU so much for holding us up before the Lord.


Merry Christmas to you! May God bless you! Blessed to BE a blessing to others.

Friday, August 21, 2015


Life on the road...what is that like? We are still living out of luggage, and I do not foresee any change for a long while. It is somewhat simple and sometimes tiresome. Just remember what your bag looks like and where you put stuff, or you might never see it again. Fourteen people in a fifteen-passenger van are a lot of sandpaper rubbing off all the sharp edges. I pray that our motto would be "They shall know we are Christians by our love." Even though we don't always all get along, we are in the process of growing towards it. 
What's in a name?  In this case for clarification, my real name is "JoAnn." It is written Joan, but is pronounced JoAnn. Just thought I'd let you know. My parents named me after the nurse who delivered me in Liberia, West Africa.
Stories, stories left untold. We have been at a mountain retreat enjoying time as a family before our kids go back to college. It has been fun to be out hiking in nature, singing together, and having great fellowship with the people I most want to be with. I surely do love our kids and praise God for each of them.  You can be in the most beautiful spot, but if you don't get along with the people you are with; life will still be miserable. You have to forgive and let go of annoyances and bitterness. Christianity and forgiveness go hand in hand—same as loving God and obedience. We are all "in the process."
It seems like I have been writing too many letters of needs in the ministry: out-of-use jewelry; musical instruments — guitars, accordions or keyboards; and money for evangelism in Ivory Coast. Any help is appreciated. A huge help is prayer. Just pray and pray. I am such a shirker; I don't pray enough. God is so powerful and so good and can do anything at all. How dumb is it if we don't pray? So please, pray for us! Thanks. 
Thanks for prayers for health and safety. We have traveled miles in safety and comfort. It is fun making new friends. Walking by faith is not easy, seeing one step at a time. August 16th, Dan and I celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary.  We praise God for that and the many blessings He has bestowed upon us.
Ruth, Hannah, Seth, Lydia and Susanna will be starting back to Ambassador Baptist College this month. Ruth is planning to take further classes. We are hoping, Lord willing, to buy a house near the college, so they can live off campus. For all of our missionary life, it has been getting more and more difficult to not have a house, a place where we can leave our stuff. It is hard not having an address and using relatives' addresses. (The reality is that our permanent address and our citizenship are in heaven.) The rest of the family will continue with meetings in North Carolina and on down to Florida. It will be strange having extra space in the van. 
We have now landed in a beautiful five-bedroom missionary home in Shelby, North Carolina for the next six weeks. God is so good to give us this place to rest while we look for a house. Thanks for all your prayers for us. May God bless you more than we could ask or think. 
Love in Christ,
Dan and Joan, Ruth, Hannah, Seth, Lydia, Susanna, Isaiah, Stephen, Rebekah, Josiah, Joseph, Esther, and Gideon

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

short news going fast

Dear Friends, and it has been great getting reacquainted with and meeting new friends,

I had better write fast before the wonderful news is past and the kids have returned. Short version; Ruth, Hannah, and Seth are in Jerusalem, Israel right now. They are having a super time learning more about Israel and being where Jesus walked. They are witnessing and being a shining light for Christ to many people who do not know their own King.
How did this trip come about? Spur of the moment --within about 2 weeks, the kids heard about and were accepted for a trip to Israel! Ruth, Hannah, and Seth--left at night for NYC. Dan got them a bus --great trip, $30 each. They arrived safely to my brother Nate in NYC, and left for Israel Tuesday, June 16th. They got lots of tracts in Hebrew to pass out --that is weight in the luggage. God takes care of us all the time. We DO love to travel, we HAVE had some great trips, and we DO get tired at times. Mat Staver with Liberty Counsel made this trip possible for college kids --only $500 each for everything ---flight, tour, food, hotels, ALL. Our kids had wanted to go to Israel "someday." Well, "Someday" has arrived. How wonderful is that??
Our big prayer request ---PRAY, we really want to buy a house around the college for the kids to live off campus ---It is always better to buy than to rent. Anyway, we are praying for the right house, timing, and location. It would save us in room and board for sure.

Bye for now.
Joan and Dan

PS. Some have asked how they can help. These are DESIRES that would be very appreciated:
1. Costume jewelry that you are tired of that I could use as gifts for ladies' groups, women seminars, etc.
2. Keyboards to give to the churches we are starting and working with.
2. Guitars or accordions that you no longer use, or even if you want to buy one - smile. We are needing these for our own children who are progressing in music and moving off to life on their own.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

May 2015

May 2015
       So, what has been happening to the big family on the road? There are so many stories of God leading us and taking care of us—how could we ever doubt Him? We look to past victories to have faith to keep all our confidence in Jesus Christ and His power and wisdom for the future. Walking by faith is a steady movement forward.
      After New York City, we had a nice time in Michigan with Dan's mom and family. We enjoyed meeting with friends at the BWM board meeting.  It is just great to travel and get reacquainted with old friends and make new ones.  I really cannot name each group or church and how much we enjoyed being with them.  I don't know who is blessing whom more—the church or us? I guess it would be God blessing us all. 
      From Michigan to North Carolina, the water pump on the van completely broke down. Yes, we had prayed for a safe, uneventful trip, and yet God showed His hand mighty once again.  We saw all the water on the ground while we were getting gasoline; it did not break down on the highway.  So, we went to a garage at 5:30 p.m. and found out that it would be a three-hour job, they could do it the next day, and it would cost almost $300.  They figured they would have to order the pump and called the car parts store, but there was one in stock. We drove over there to buy it, and Dan also bought the necessary tools to do the job himself. He turned his shirt inside out and Isaiah, Stephen, and he worked in the cold and did the job in three hours.  Meanwhile, I was praying in the van that all would go well.  We were parked in the car parts parking lot and a Holiday Inn was right next to us.  A little way into the job, Dan realized that he needed a channel lock wrench for the job. By now, the car parts store was closed. I went to the hotel to see if I could call anyone who could bring us that wrench.  Even while I was calling, the fashionable lady behind the desk said that she thought the hotel maintenance room had one.  I hung up on the answering machine, the lady brought the wrench, and Dan was able to finish the job. On we went at 9:30 p.m., praising God that we hadn't had to spend the night at that exit.
      Ruth graduated on May 8. The commencement messages were challenging.  We again realized why we wanted our kids to go to Ambassador Baptist College—to hear great preaching.  Pray for Ruth as she is discerning the next step for her life. 
      God brought us through a small, difficult situation and plopped us down (spur of the moment—meaning, unplanned) at the Whitestone Country Inn resort in Tennessee. We had beautiful weather for our three-night stay (swimming in the Tennessee River, canoeing, and loving all our time together outdoors).
      I can give stories of God taking care of us all the time. We pray that we are examples of Godliness—follow my example as I follow the example of Christ. Am I an example that others would want to follow? Are you?
      After Tennessee, we went through Arkansas, Texas, and spent a day down in Mexico, then back to Texas and on to Arizona. We had a great time in Mexico (we parked the car and walked over). One funny thing that happened on returning was that we had forgotten that you can't come into America with fresh fruits with seeds. We had bought lots of oranges, peaches, and avocado. The customs people were going to throw it all away, and that would have about killed us.  Anyway, they let us go back out and around, eat all our fruit and come across the border again. I'm sure it was a funny site—a group of Americans having a fruit picnic on the bridge.
      We travel with fresh food and a rice cooker. With the rice cooker and microwaves that are available everywhere, we can cook almost anything we want to eat. It is very fun being creative and flexible.
      Praise the Lord for health and safety and a whole lot of fun. Serve God and have fun doing it. Walking by faith is not always easy, but God promises that it will be well worth it all. 
      Thanks for all your prayers. Please pray for the tract ministry as we distribute tracts everywhere we go, even Spanish tracts down in Mexico.  "The Bridge" booklet is very nice.  We pray that they will be read and that God will convict and save some.  Who knows who we might meet someday in heaven?  His Word does not return void. That is a promise to help us act by faith and distribute them.  Just pray that the Holy Spirit will work in their lives.
Keep us in your prayers. Thanks.

Servants of the most High God,
Dan and Joan and Twelve